A raise worth $3 million for Bills running back Fred Jackson was long overdue. Buffalo’s favorite underdog finally got his contract extension and will be with the team through 2014.
Jackson’s story is well documented. His journey to the top of the Bills depth chart was capped last season when he amassed enormous chunks of yardage before a broken leg sidelined him late in the year. His low salary put Jackson on the potential line of backs to be ushered out of Buffalo by young talent. In fact, Jackson’s emergence was a big part of Marshawn Lynch’s trade.
However, Jackson’s value to the Bills offense far exceeds what Lynch ever did for the team and management recognized that. Maybe he should have gotten his dough during the season, but the Bills made sure not to mistreat him for too long. The contract raises his salary to $4.5M per year and locks up the team’s three best weapons (Jackson, Stevie Johnson and FitzMagic) long-term.
I do expect Jackson’s touches to go down some next season as C.J. Spiller has also earned the right to see some actual playing time. While Spiller’s strong finish may take carries away from Jackson, it gives the Bills the opportunity to build a proper thunder and lightning duo with their backs. Spiller’s waterbug tendencies and recent effectivness on the ground paired with Jackson’s tenacious running style gives Buffalo a terrific backfield combo.
Even with diminished carries, Jackson’s role in the offense will not change. He was the main reason that the lack of a deep passing game wasn’t an issue for nearly seven weeks. Jackson was far and away the team’s MVP and proved it on a near weekly basis. Pairing him with Spiller makes the Bills’ running game far more dangerous as the 2012 season approaches. Continue reading